15 Aug 2019
Like people, Twitter will let you follow topics of interest
In a bid to attract new users and retain old ones, Twitter is testing a new capability, an option to follow topics.
The feature, currently available for Android, would let you follow different topics of interest - just like following real accounts - and keep tabs on them through the Twitter feed, The Verge reported.
Here's all you need to know about it.
You could follow your favorite sports, team, shows
Just like Facebook page likes, Twitter's follow function will let you follow most, if not all, sorts of topics of interest, be it a movie, sport, TV show, team or celebrity.
Once the topics are followed, Twitter's machine learning algorithms will pick, curate and display individual tweets that might be associated with them.
These posts would appear in the home feed, alongside regular tweets.
Goal to make Twitter more relevant for users
The goal behind this feature is to make Twitter more relevant and give people easy access to the content they'd prefer to interact with.
Currently, the ability to follow topics works for certain sports-related categories, but we expect the platform to make more topics available for following in the near future.
Also, a wider rollout of the feature is expected later this year.
However, few concerns still remain
While the feature is promising, Twitter would also want to explore its potential downsides.
Case in point, the possible spread of abusive and hateful topics on the platform.
If the curation of topics would be based on algorithms, the company would have to ensure that bad actors do not get the opportunity to abuse the capability and give more visibility to inappropriate content.
There will be the ability to mute topics
Kayvon Beykpour, who leads product development at Twitter, says they won't allow users to follow every topic they might be interested in, something that we expect could be used to avoid possible abuse.
Also, the company will offer an option to mute topics, which would let you hide tweets related to a particular topic, say like a TV show, for some time.